Class of ’53

September 2012

Dear ʼ53 Classmates,

Spring of 2013 will be our 60th class anniversary.  So let's plan to gather at the old Alma mater and celebrate.

Join your classmates at Gustavus on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, 2013.  (Note:  This is the weekend after Memorial Day weekend so the date should be clear).

The reunion schedule has lots happening on campus since all classes from 1968 and older will be back and graduation is on Sunday of that weekend.  In addition, your reunion committee is looking to have some special events for our class.  We're looking at a class dinner on Friday evening and the 50-year club luncheon luncheon on Saturday with a special speaker from the college giving us some highlights about the college's future.  There is the Alumni Banquet for all classes on Saturday evening.  In between all of this are the other college sponsored events for reunion weekend plus anything special we want to brew up for the class of ʼ53.  We can make it a fun weekend.  Send ideas to Marv or me and while you’re at it send some news.

Graduation for the class of 2013 is on Sunday, June 2, in the stadium if the weather cooperates, so you might want to stay on and see some of your favorite people graduate.  Or just hang out in the stadium and take in the speeches and festival music.

When we arrived on campus in the fall of 1949, the last of the WW II GI's were finishing their college programs.  The parking lot near Myrum Fieldhouse was filled with small trailers for married housing.  Those disappeared a year later as all the married GI's graduated and none of the class of ʼ53 arrived married, or admitted to being married.

Enrollment after the fall of ʼ49 dropped like a rock with the loss of the GI's and our class, conceived and born at the outset of the Great Depression, did not have many kids.  The college faced some tough financial decisions.  Some favorite faculty lost their jobs.  The college could not even afford to water the grass during the summer.

Edgar Carlson ʼ30 was president and Theodore Conrad ʼ25 was the dean.  A few of us spent some time in Dean Conrad's office after the first freshmen talent show (pepperpot) when some jokes were told that offended the Dean.  Can't remember the jokes but, Dean Conrad had a very low threshold for off-colored jokes.  And quite of few of us made it to President Carlson's office during the year to explain our All-American rank in chapel cuts.

Chapel was in the old auditorium that just begged to have chapel pranks.  Remember the day that Prof. Allwardt was playing the organ on music Thursday when a pair of girl’s panties drifted out over the stage?  Most students were either dozing off, or reading the latest issue of the The Weekly, or boning up for a third hour class, so didn't notice right away.  At first there was a gentle snicker, then slowly the laughter rose.  Allwardt played on.

Or how about the time someone had put paper clips in the piano so it sounded like a honky tonk piano at the local bar.  It was student performance day so the accompanist bravely played on but it took something off the soloist’s performance that day.

And of course the classic was the day the pigeons were released.  I think that the speaker that day thought it was Pentecost all over again.  Or maybe Armageddon.

With the building of the new chapel building, long after we had graduated, chapel pranks went the way of the dinosaurs.

And remember the powerhouse football teams that Lloyd Hollingworth ʼ36 developed?  Recall the Saturday afternoon that Macalester came to play and the team was so confident about this game that most of the starting lineup went pheasant hunting during the morning and were pretty well worn out by game time.  The Gusties lost in a big upset.  After that, Hollingsworth sequestered the team before game day.

During the big enrollment of the late ʼ40s when the GI's returned, courtesy of the GI Bill, and many of them had played instruments during their military duty, the music department put together a concert band, first of its kind, under the direction of Frederick Hillary.  His wife, Joyce was a concert pianist and often played with the band.  In 1951 the band took its final tour as enrollment was dropping and Hillary was notified that his contract could not be renewed for the next year.  The band played northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan in cold auditoriums in the middle of January.  The band was disbanded that spring.

Women had to be in the dorms by 10:00 p.m. on weekdays and 11:00 p.m. on weekends.  Men were free to roam without hours.  On warm spring evenings, fraternities would gather to serenade the woman’s dorms shortly after the women were all safely checked in.  TV was just coming on and a weak signal could be picked up in St. Peter so there was not much media competition for the serenaders.  A simple era.

Our generation was known as the:  “Silent Generation.”  No on-campus protests.  Just happy to have made it to college.

Well, you get the idea.  Lots of memories.  Jot down your favorites so they can be published in future issues of this class letter.  Or retold during the reunion.

Don't forget to send along something significant to the Annual Fund.  Last year we did really well in percent of participation ranking somewhere near the top of all classes.  Nice going!

Remember when we had our 50th reunion and we started a scholarship fund?  That fund now stands at a bit over $45,000 and generates close to $1,900 each year for a class of ʼ53 scholarship.  Maybe we can add a bit to that fund at our 60th.  Maybe we should shoot for getting it to $60,000 on our 60th.

Find a new calendar for 2013 and mark in the dates of May 31 and June 1 for the Class of ʼ53 60th reunion.  Think positive thoughts and stay in shape so you can handle the hills on campus.

We can use some more class officers of all kinds.  Like to volunteer?  Always wanted to be chair of a reunion program?  Or lusted to be listed as a finance development officer?  Make up a title and drop me a line at:


Tom Boman

1953 Class Co-President (with Marv Larson)

Campus News

Alumni Career Exploration

Where Dreams Meet Reality: Alumni Networking and Transition” will be offered again with support from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Catherine Beyer Breet (  This program is designed for anyone who is unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed.  It takes participants through the process of naming gifts, talents, and passions and finding where to use them in the world.  This event is scheduled at St. Mary’s University this fall on Tuesdays Sept. 25, Oct. 9 and 23, and Nov. 6, from 6–8 p.m.  This four-part classroom series includes full access to the Online Job Hunt Coaching System.  The series is being offered for $199 (Gustavus alumni $149).  Live outside the Twin Cities metro area?  The series will be offered in webinar format for $149 (Gustavus alumni $99).  Register at:

Nobel Conference – “Our Global Ocean”

October 2-3 – Nobel Conference 48 examines, “Our Global Ocean” as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  The conference will examine our oceans as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  We know less about our own oceans than we do about the surfaces of other planets hundreds of millions of miles away.  Top researchers in biogeochemistry, oceanography, deep-sea biology, molecular genetics, and coral ecology will discuss the most relevant topics concerning our mysterious oceans.  Tickets for this year’s Nobel Conference are available at:

The Royal Visit

Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will visit Gustavus in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the College by Swedish immigrants in 1862.  The Royal Visit to Gustavus will be Friday, October 5, 2012.  For the full schedule of the day’s events, visit visit.  Many events require tickets.

Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has selected nine individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2012 class of inductees include Rhonda Gorseth Alberts ’93 (Gymnastics), Brian Brekke ’95 (Football), Kara Bloomquist Drekonja ’96 (Cross Country), Brett Gross ’96 (Track & Field), Brock Guettler ’92 (Basketball), Mark Kruger ’86 (Tennis), Jason Lesteberg ’96 (Hockey), Scott Stoneking ’96 (Soccer), and Donald Swanson ’55 (Benefactor).  This group will be honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which will be held in Alumni Hall at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, following the Hall of Fame football game between the Gusties and Hamline University, which is set to take place at 1 p.m. at Hollingsworth Field.

Homecoming 2012

October 12-14 – Homecoming 2012 will include the Sesquicentennial Closing Dinner, reunions, a football game, a performance by The Bend of the River Big Band, and more.  For information on reunion registration and the entire homecoming schedule, visit

Alumni Travel Opportunities

2013 Friends of Music Salzburg choral Tour

Gustavus Friends of Music has arranged for a Gustavus Alumni choir tour to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague June 23 – July 5, 2013.  Singers and non-singers alike are welcome.  Once in Salzburg, the singers will join the Mozart International Choral Festival and perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass in the Salzburg Cathedral on June 29.  Not a singer?  There is space available for non-performers as well.  For more information contact Jackie Neeck Peterson ’77 at or 800-726-6192.

2013 Pearls of Central Europe

Experience Central Europe with Gustavus professor emeritus of history Dr. Tom Emmert from September 10—21, 2013.  This 12-day Gustavus study tour combines learning, exploring, leisure, lecture, food, and arts with special touches, all led by a faculty expert.  The journey is focused around three showpiece cities of Central Europe:  Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.  For more information, contact Tom Emmert at

Gustie Breakfasts - Twin Cities – New time and place

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Twin Cities Gustavus alumni breakfast.  Please join us at the American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis), on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 a.m.  Cost is $10.  Gustie breakfasts are also being held on campus the second Wednesday of each month.

October 17 – Nobel Conference Recap

November 21 – Donald Ostrom – November elections

December 19 – Terry Morrow – Minnesota Vikings stadium